Internship Bound

So far ESMT has been nothing short of a thrill ride!

It seems like ages ago but I remember when the program started, I was all wide eyed and bushy tailed. Right now, it seems my tail has lost it fluff and my eyes now have depth due to all the short nights and long, long days. I have found myself in the ‘valley of despair’ few times during the first two modules of the program. However, the clouds parted after a while and the sun shone again. Continue reading “Internship Bound”

MIM @ ESMT – Module 2

An update

Amidst all the exams and assignments, I am writing this post because now with a more regular life here in Berlin my judgement would not be biased (and you will learn the significance of this word when you do as it might have been in my first post and also might help maintaining the continuity my first post.

This time of the year most of my class is busy applying for various internships and its tough to find one for a non-German speaker (so you might want to start early!). The career services at ESMT however have been quite useful in arranging some events which are helpful.

My overall experience in the first module was quite great in terms of the quality of professors and also in terms of the broad range of content that was covered during the class. Its quite surprising that in such a short time, we are equipped with a lot of techniques to analyse and make decisions based on data. I have learned various new modelling techniques and am quite impressed by the course content of some of the courses.

5 weeks into the second module, I cannot deny that its taking some time to get used to the work load again after quite a long winter break. Along with the regular work, the ghost of internship still looms. Continue reading “MIM @ ESMT — Module 2”

First month of Master’s in Management

Starting out in Berlin

Hello! I am now an ESMT student and since the start of the program 3 weeks ago, I have been wanting to put everything together including what is going on with the program, the classmates and of course, Berlin! So, I figured this would be the perfect platform to do so, since people might get something
out of this.

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-4-20-04-pmThe first few weeks have been really promising, and the first week is the best welcome any university can have for its students, since we all came from different cultures and background, it was really good to have the first week to get to know each other. A usual conversation used to end up about getting to know something or the other about a country you didn’t really know well, also ESMT as well as the city of Berlin helps you with settling in as well.

Teaching Methodology:

Since I come from India, the universities I am accustomed to are a bit different in the sense of teacher student relationship, method of teaching, etc. I was expecting it to be different here, but this fabulous is not what I had expected. We got to meet the various faculties in the first week and a lot of faculties took interest in us personally, and greeted us every day and whenever there was a new class, one of the more familiar faces introduced them to us and so ESMT took a lot of care in making us feel at home (however I think this could be a “trap”). Decision theory is the first subject  we went through and looking back, I am quite amazed how much I have learnt in the last 3 weeks only! It gives me a lot of hope of the coming two years here.

Fellow Students and Classmates:

The students you meet on campus are really friendly and they always help you out with your queries regarding professors, exams, the internships, etc. Its really great to interact with them and have them give you the first take on whats it going to be like for the coming years. With the kind of work they did during their internships and the satisfaction level of each of them is pretty amazing too, it almost feels like career services helped them find the tailored internships somehow.

My classmates have been really really awesome too, they come from such a varied background and the diversity is another feat in itself. We have since the beginning of the program shared some group works, apartment issues, registration in the city, going through the german bureaucratic system together and of course partying together! All of this has had an impact on the class unity and I think we have a great and a verimg_20161010_231245  y interesting blend of people in the batch.

And now, Berlin:

I found myself, again and again, doing Berlin things. There’s really no way around it in Berlin

fotor_147603657571281Well Berlin is one of the most attractive attribute that ESMT students go for (if not the most attractive) and is rightly so. Berlin is a very vibrant city and its an amazing place to be. The people are more or less quite friendly (except for the lady at city registration) and you see a culture which in my opinion is hardly matched by any (and I have been to most of Europe). Sometimes, the nightlife of Berlin what it is glorified for (and rightly so), but the best thing in my opinion about this city is, even for people who don’t party much like me, there are ample of choices and things to do in the city (like Banksy art collection or the festival of lights, a lot  of places with historic significance etc.). Except for the fun part of Berlin another great feature of this city is its start up atmosphere, a lot of young berliners you speak to are very inclined to do something on their own and are generally very motivated in this aspect. There are a lot of start up meet ups which definitely provide anyone with an inclination to get the most out of this city’s ever growing start up space. Although I am yet to visit ESMT’s GTEC, I have heard a lot of amazing stuff about the centre and am very keen to meet them soon!

My main aim of writing this article is to give you a brief idea about the atmosphere and the positive environment around me, which is very highly  facilitated by ESMT’s super awesome faculties, admission team, the career services team, etc who always make you feel at ease and the surrounding ecosystem of your classmates and other study groups which provide you with a unique diverse and growth oriented atmosphere. This is what I think will steer ESMT to greater heights in the coming years!!

Summer Grill, July 3rd 2015

As planned, on July 3rd ESMT hosted a BBQ in the garden to honor the Kofi Annan Fellows and to present this year’s RLFs (Responsible Leadership Fellows) who have just returned from their 6-months mission. Apart from the Kofis (Kofi Annan Fellows) and RLFs, Friends of ESMT, ESMT professors and the Ambassador of Nepal also attended. The event was initiated and hosted by Prof. Wulff Plinke and his colleagues in ESMT.

Overview of the Summer Grill
Overview of the Summer Grill
Meet and Greet
Meet and Greet

After some casual greetings, Prof. Plinke started by telling a brief history of KABSF and the birth of the RLF. In a nutshell, KABSF (Kofi Annan Business School Foundation) was established to give a chance to talented students from under-developed countries to pursue higher education in leading six business schools in Europe. The RFL (Responsible Leaders Fellowship) is a program initiated to give ESMT graduates the opportunity to give back to the society through skills-based volunteering. The selected fellows are to provide a 6 months service to a deserving organization depends on mutual agreement between both parties.

This year’s RLF graduates are Mariana Helguera, Sergey Ten and Sherzod Abdujabborov who volunteered their services at TSiBA Education in Cape Town. Another fellow, Rahul Jain, worked with Welthungerhilfe in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique. The four fellows shared their experiences, challenges, highlights and the priceless life lessons they learned with the crowd.

Left to Right: Rahul, Sergey, Sherzod, Prof. Plinke, and Mariana
Left to Right: Rahul, Sergey, Sherzod, Prof. Plinke, and Mariana

Next on the agenda, Prof. Plinke introduced the current Kofis who were present on the day. Due to the short notice of the event and different locations of KABSF business schools, there were only fellows from ESMT represent, but we strongly hope that the next event will be able to host Kofis from the other five business schools. Prof. Plinke, who is a leading factor in the formation of the Kofi Annan Alumni Association (KAAA) and who had drafted the KABSF First Years Report, introduced the six current fellows who are from MBA and MIM class. Each of them shared their experiences of being a Kofi, and how they expect their education in Europe to impact their future endeavours.

Left to Right: Prof. Plinke and ESMT MBA Kofis: Siyabonga Gobingca and Adeola Olatunji
Left to Right: Prof. Plinke, Siyabonga Gobingca and Adeola Olatunji
Ana Desiwijaya, another ESMT MBA Kofi, introduced herself and shared her experiences as a Kofi
Ana Desiwijaya, another ESMT MBA Kofi, introduced herself and shared her experiences as a Kofi
Left to Right: Prof. Plink and ESMT MIM Kofis: Matida Ndlovu, Sopha Nem, and Nelly Ogonda
Left to Right: Prof. Plinke, Matida Ndlovu, Sopha Nem, and Nelly Ogonda of the MIM class

It was a beautiful summer afternoon with good wine, good food, and good spirits. It had been a few months since we had last met up (as MIM students are doing internships), and everyone was delighted to see one another again. Old friends were reunited, new friends made, and endless laughter echoed until late evening.

Once again, we sincerely would like to thank KABSF, Prof. Plinke, Friends of ESMT, and others who are not mentioned here for providing us the opportunity to receive such a distinguished education and learning experience.

We are proud to be Kofis and RLFs!



Moments With My Mentor

Scepticism. That was my gut reaction when Nick Barniville first sent the Allianz scholarship holders an e-mail with the offer of arranging a personal mentor who was an ESMT alumnus and Allianz employee. I’d been down this road before, and it had been riddled with potholes. As part of a DAX30 company’s corporate programme to support young women pursuing a MINT degree, I had been assigned a mentor. Although excited about the opportunity at first, it hadn’t quite worked out the way I had envisioned it, and so I had come to view arranged mentorships with the same scepticism as arranged marriages.

What is a mentor? In Greek mythology, Mentor was put in charge of Odysseus’s son, Telemachus, while Odysseus fought in the Trojan war. Because of Mentor’s relationship with Telemachus, the personal name Mentor has been adopted in English as a term meaning someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague. [1]

So a day before I started my internship at Allianz, I called PA [2] and boldly introduced myself as his mentee. The strangest feeling ever. How do you just call up a stranger and say, “Hi, this is Matida – your mentee!”?
A meeting was arranged, and a couple of hours later we chatted over dinner near the English Garden in Munich. The first 30 minutes were a fast-paced sort of interview: Where are you from? What did you study? Why the ESMT? If you had €20,000 what stocks would you buy at the moment on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange? What would be your expected returns after six months? If you had no budget constraints, what business would you start today?
Be early for work, be reliable, look smart and sharp, do more than what is expected of you – that was the take-away message of that first meeting. With a firm handshake, the deal was sealed to meet up once a month, to give regular internship progress feedback, and to feel free to ask for advice.

This past Friday, during our third meeting over dinner, PA said something that gave me a big AHA! moment. I turned 25 a couple of months ago, and have been musing on life in general and my life in particular. If I am lucky to be conscious when I take my last breath, what are the things that will make me be able to say I ran a good race and fought a good fight? What will be my ‘KPIs’, as defined by me, that will make me say, “Oh wow…..oh wow…”? Quarter-life crisis? Nah, just reflecting and projecting.
PA then said, “Success is not accomplishment. Success is preparedness.” My furrowed brow must have indicated that I wasn’t buying it – not just yet.
Then he broke it down: In life, when you set rigid goals, you limit yourself. Don’t let your goals cage you in. What you should be doing is preparing for when life’s occasions and opportunities arise; when they do, let them find you prepared. Let reading expand your horizons, be inquisitive about the world, surround yourself with people smarter than you. That way, you’re preparing and opening yourself up for something even bigger than your wildest dreams.
“And when the occasion doesn’t arise?” I asked.
He shrugged, “That’s life. But then you’ll know you did everything possible – you did your part.”
By that time, I’d grabbed a pen and had jotted those lines onto my serviette, as I so often do when inspired.
Looking back, I just remembered that my Girl Guides motto was also, “Be prepared!” Hmmm….now it makes bigger sense than just making sure you have your pocket knife on you when you go on 5th grade field trip.

Today, I have FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out) to thank for taking up Nick’s offer 🙂 I’m grateful to all those who organized this mentorship opportunity. A big “Thank you!” also goes out to my mentor for taking time out of his busy schedule to impart his wisdom and to share his knowledge with me. May I be a worthy student.

Signing off,

Mentorship: “Indlela ibuzwa kwabaphambili” – A Ndebele proverb that can be loosely translated to mean that the twists and turns of life’s road ahead of you are best asked about from those who have already trodden it.



[2] I have only given my mentor’s initials, as I have not asked for permission to use his name in this blog post. I could just write to him and ask, but by the time I get a reply, I may not be as inspired to share this post.